No Suntag today! But I am not leaving you with nothing to read. Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Silent Wife by the amazingly talented Kerry Fisher! Enjoy my review and check out the rest of the stops!
Title: The Silent Wife
Author: Kerry Fisher
Date of publication: February 24th 2017
Format reviewed: eARC
Number of pages: 312
All families are crazy. This is what my great-grandmother used to say. Boy did she was right! Families are tricky, you are handled carefully weaved small threads, connections to all those people that share your name and blood – or not, and those little bonds get tangled, they loosen, they get older, they keep messing with your head. Families are a blessing. But families can also be a curse!
The Farinellis, a seemingly nice and happy big Italian family, know all about what a family is about. At least that is what they think. Lara will do anything for her husband and son to be happy, even if it means losing herself in the process. Maggie is the new piece, the “blended” member trying her best to fit the picture and the empty seat left by the deceased first wife of her beloved husband. Through those women’s eyes, you get to know their husbands, the very different but equally strong men Massimo and Nico. To say their views on life are different is a euphemism, but brotherhood is a strong bond and those two are navigating life together, through thin and thick. Add to the mix the next generation, Sam, Sandro and Francesca to spice up the adults’ life and bring joy to the party. Guarding the family is the mama, Anna. Resilient, old-fashioned Anna whose tongue is always ready to let slip a scathing comment or a nasty remark to her daughters-in-law while her warmth is enveloping and cherishing those two perfect sons life has blessed her with.
But this portray is simplistic. You could have guessed all of this from a family picture hanged on the wall.
I knew outsiders only saw a fraction of what a marriage was really like.
With The Silent Wife, we are off to the real thing. The author’s writing breathes life. What happens when the photographer says “it’s a wrap!”? Kerry Fisher shows it all. The masks appearances force you to wear, the pressure that comes with a family, the shadows, the secrets. Chapter after chapter, layers are removed, the wounds start hurting, the cracks on the wall appear, the feelings just flow and you are left with the meaning of the sense of belonging, with what it truly means to be a family.
For once in my life, I wanted to surrender to romance, to believe love was sparkly and special and not something that made you look in the mirror and shake your head at your own stupidity.
Maggie and Lara couldn’t be more different. I don’t want to dive too much into characterization because the book is an experience about who you are, who you appear to be, who you want to be and how you can relate to those around you. All of this is locked away, for different reasons. Lara cannot let her husband and his perfect life down by revealing what is eating her soul every day and Maggie won’t destroy the newly found happiness and solace of her new husband and his reluctant daughter. But secrets have a knack for bringing everything to the surface.
I warmed to both women for very different reasons. Maggie was the stepmother I wish I had had growing up! She tries her best to protect what she is slowly and tentatively building. I know what it feels to be treated as a second choice, as if you are just here to fill a gap, as if you don’t quite fit into the picture. She felt real and warm and really trying, even if painfully aware her ways are the opposite of what is done on the Italian side. The Farinelli family is close-knit and doesn’t let strangers in so easily. Lara learned it the hard way. The many years since her wedding hasn’t made her more comfortable around her mother-in-law and her son’s upbringing is a constant issue in the family. Their struggles, their daily lives, their voices sounded spot-on, I imagined them as my aunts, my cousins, and I felt for and with them.
I think what made me feel so connected to Lara and Maggie from the start was the mixture of emotions coming from their different narrations. The guarded Lara and the new-addition Maggie, two different views of the same coin. I love how Kerry Fisher seized the way we tiptoe around people, the way we try to cope with our own feelings and interpret others’, the way something simple can bring people together when they least expect it, the way you can find allies in people you had no intention of letting in, because life happens and when you are faced with its hardships or happy moments. You may find someone standing right next to you, holding out a hand. That is also what family is for.
I am nosey and I must say this story delivers on the promise to let you hide behind the curtains and see what happens behind closed doors. It’s not all bad, grey is all around, and I am happy the author gives room for opinions to be formed and evolve as the characters grow.
Finally, I was understanding what it meant to be a grown-up.
Getting to know everyone else through Maggie and Lara’s eyes was an excellent way of witnessing the difference faces we put on depending on who is around! If something had made me angry during Lara’s narration, Maggie’s light on the same character, event or day would have my feelings completely changed. If Maggie’s light tone or complaint would irritate me a little, Lara’s fresh eyes on it would give it another meaning. With a clever array of secondary characters to spice already-packed lives, the steady pace of the story never lets up.
I dreaded the secret wouldn’t let any room for character development but I must have forgotten how every single day shape us, no matter what hovers over our heads, and this is depicted so clearly in The Silent Wife that you might start looking around you with more open eyes. Kerry Fisher masters the magic of capturing life through all angles and delivering it to you raw and real.
I’d once had a boyfriend who called me “Shnoodle Bum”. It had put me off nicknames for life.
The tension was different from a thriller or an action-packed story. It crept on me as I dived deeper and deeper into the family’s troubled waters, and the secret had my heart break, shake with fear, the undercurrent of dread coming in waves as every day troubles offered a respite from the darkest times.
My heart ached for that family, for the lost ones, for the found ones. I loved every minute, every page, every word of this heart-wrenching book!
The author’s fantastic and emotional writing turns a seemingly normal family story into a gripping roller coaster journey about how a secret can shake the foundation of a perfect picture, revealing just how bonds can be strong, cut, tested, created and renewed, for the sake of happiness.
I would like to thank Kerry Fisher and Bookouture’s team for allowing me to take part in this blog tour. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.
Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian, and taught English in Corsica and Spain before climbing to holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually returned to England to ‘get a proper job’, and spent two years in features at Essentials magazine. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy.
Find more information about The Silent Wife on the Blog Tour!